Protecting your boat from severe storms

by admin on August 31, 2010

First of all you should have a detailed plan. Write down with checklists. Your plan should include an action schedule to remove your boat from the storm area. The safe location needs to be set up ahead of time. Have a friend or a company you can count to remove and protect your boat if you cannot do it yourself. There is no substitute for planning, preparedness and thoroughness in emergencies. And, believe it or, a dangerous storm can still sneak up on you.

1. Consolidate all of your boating records including insurance, registration, complete inventory of equipment on board, telephone numbers and keep them where they are accessible.
2. Update your inventory of items on board regularly.
3. Develop a plan of hou you are going to strip the boat, how long it will take, and what work is involved. If your boat is going to weather the storm you will have remove all items that can be removed and you will have to lash down items that must stay. Remove the battery to eliminate the risk of fire or other damage.
4. Tape windows and hatches.
5. If your boat is in the water you have three choices: remain on the mooring or at the marina, move the boat to a safe harbor, or haul the boat. If you choose to remain in place:

  • Double all lines
  • Spring lines fore and aft (attach lines high on pilings to allow for surge)
  • Ensure lines are tied in ways that will not slip
  • Choose strong pilings
  • Cover lines at stress points to avoid chaffing
  • Install fenders to on all impact areas
  • Monitor the storm and adjust lines as needed
  • Assess the strength or your on board cleats and and chocks
  • Batteries should be fully charged to run the bilge pumps. Back up batteries are a good idea
  • Do not stay aboard. Saving a person who stays aboard may be impossible.

6. If you choose to haul your boat (best solution):

  • Have an arrangement with your marina. Prior to a storm it gets busy. Have a a prearranged agreement and a backup plan.
  • Ensure that once hauled the boat will be taken to a safe location. Remember to consider flooded roads and bridges as possible impediments.
  • Depending on your “safe” location you may need to develop a ground tackle system.

7. After the storm:

  • Be patient many people have been injured and killed attempting to get to their boat immediately after a storm. Driving may not be safe. Docks and other facilities may be damaged or weakened.
  • Bring your document records with you to facilitate any action that may be needed.
  • Conduct a thorough seaworthiness check and look for any damage that may affect the safety of your boat before setting out. Assume nothing.
  • If relaunching, be careful to check for leaks and damage, or damage your boat may have caused to vessels around on land or sea.

Procedures to process damage or loss claims

  • Photograph everything and list all damage thoroughly
  • Protect vessel from further damage
  • Call your insurance agent
  • Contact your repair company or facility
  • The insurance agency will send an adjuster or a surveyor to your boat, but you can elect to get a second opinion with a surveyor or adjuster of your own. Accompany all adjusters or surveyors when they visit your boat.
  • Have your complete inventory list, receipts, photographs, and estimates ready. You will have to provide a “proof of loss” and a “release/payment order.”
  • File a statement of loss with your insurance agent
  • It’s a good idea to have an attorney relationship in case it is needed.
  • Be sure you understand ahead of time your insurance company’s method of payment
  • In the case of a complete loss, be preapred to surrender title and all documentation, as well as remaining equipment onboard.
  • If you have financed the vessel, they will be involved in the payments as well.

Watch the weather, prepare and plan, have backup plans and company and people who can and will help. And, of course, Quality Boatworks will be ready when you need us.

Sources: U.S. Coast Guard Storm Center; Texas Sea Grant College; Hurricane Resource Center, Boat U.S.; Cape Cod Commission, Emergency Handbook

End of Season (Winterizing) Checklist…

by admin on August 12, 2010

Winterizing your boat is extremely important and it has to be done correctly.

Here in New England where the winter weather is highly unpredictable and the temperatures can reach zero and below, unless you have indoor storage, it is doubly important. If you don’t winterize your engine block, it will freeze and possibly crack, thereby ruining your boat. Additionally, it is a great time to cleanup and repair your boat so that it will give you many years of reliable pleasure. A clean boat lasts longer… especially around here.

1. Protecting your boat’s exterior

First wash and wax the hull, including the bottom and deck. Check for damage and fix.

Drain and clean the bilge.

Clean the interior including the windshield and all glass. Include the instrument panel and don’t forget any storage areas. Clean and treat any upholstery and trim. Vacuum and wash or clean the carpet.

Drain, clean, lubricate, and winterize the head.

Check all fire extinguishers

Drain and winterize the water system.

Inspect and lubricate all controls and cables.

Inspect clean and treat standing and running, rigging, sails, canvas (including boat cover) and mooring Lines.

If possible remove electronics for storage.

Use dehumidify and mildew control.

Remove, clean, treat and store the dingy.

2. Your engine

Remove and inspect the propeller.

Add a fuel stabilizer to the fuel tank as per instructions.

Use a flush attachment to flush the engine.

Run the engine at low RPM for several minutes to get fuel lines, carburetor etc., full of treated fuel.

Change the motor oil and filter then run the engine to make sure oil is circulated and motor parts lubricated with new oil.

Use fogging oil in the carburetor while engine is running and run the engine a few minutes. (see manufactures instructions)

Drain and replace the gear case/vertical drive unit lubricant.

Remove the spark plugs and spray fogging oil into the cylinders. Turn over the engine to distribute the fogging oil.

Leave the wires disconnected and re-install the spark plugs.

Winterize the cooling system with appropriate anti-freeze. (follow manufacturers instructions)

Remove the battery, check water level, charge battery and store in a cool dry location. Charge periodically or attach a battery float charger.

Disconnect any portable fuel lines and tanks.

Spray a rust preventative on engine and other rustable parts.

Check all belts and hoses.

3. Your trailer

Check tires and wheels for air pressure and damage.

Inspect all rollers and replace or fix any damage.

Lubricate the wheel bearings.

Inspect, clean and lubricate the winch.

Clean and lubricate ball and hitch.

Inspect and test lighting fix as necessary.

4. Some general tips and warnings.

  1. Check manufacturers’ recommendations for all steps.
  2. Your owners manual will be very informative for these steps.
  3. Supplies to perform these operations can be found on line or at a boat shop.
  4. Make sure you put the antifreeze in as manufacturer recommends. This is very important.
  5. Be careful, running your engine out of the water can be very damaging. Run it for very short periods and check with the manufacturer’s specifications.
  6. Be careful being around a motor while it’s running can hurt you including the propeller.
Sources: From personal experience, Popular Mechanics articles,, and others.